Introverts are generally cast as anti-social or cripplingly shy. Judi Gerber is a self-proclaimed introvert who thinks the benefits should be celebrated.
As somebody who has always felt less comfortable in large groups and more in need of alone time than many of my friends, I have often wondered what is different about me. During the past year, there have been countless articles and books written about introversion that have shed more light on this. I have been amused to see that introverts have come to be a hot topic.
Why is it that we even feel the need to label these personality differences? Or worse, why do we judge them as better or worse than one another? Introverts are often made to feel that something is wrong with them because they don’t thrive in huge gatherings or groups, and are labeled as anti-social, reclusive or just shy.
This is unfortunate because their numbers are strong; different reports estimate that between one-third to one-half of the population might be introverted. So it would be helpful to try to clear up some of the misconceptions about introversion.
I have heard introversion myths most of my life: all introverts are desperately shy and have little to no social skills; they hate groups and all they want is to be alone; since they like being alone, they are either depressed or sad all the time; they don’t make good leaders or good speakers; they don’t do things that require them to be in the spotlight.
However, as a recent Huffington Post article pointed out, there have been many exceptional speakers and very successful introverts who counter these myths. Among the most successful introverts are Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Warren Buffett, Albert Einstein and even Gandhi.
What are the traits that tend to make introverts successful? All of the famous examples listed above said they do their best thinking and feel most creative alone, rather than in a group. The quiet and the solitude allowed them to really flesh out theories, plans, books, etc. Most introverts may share some of these character traits, such as enjoying solitary time and not necessarily liking big groups, but it doesn’t mean they don’t like people, or to socialize. Instead, many introverts need time alone to recharge and regroup.
Other characteristics that made these people so successful, according to Huffington Post’s article, include “intellectual persistence, prudent thinking, and the ability to see and act on warning signs.”
Can you relate to these qualities? Where do you fall on the introvert or extrovert scale? Take Care2’s quiz here.
Written by Judi Gerber
This article was originally published at Care2.
[image: via Nguyen Hung Vu on flickr]